Trendpinion is a video series in which HillReporter.com contributor Chris Walker discusses his thoughts on a trending topic. Each Week, Chris will delve into matters of great importance, and lend his ideas on policy, politicians, and other societal issues.
This week, Chris looks at the proposals being made about how to best deal with gun violence and mass shootings. President Donald Trump suggested earlier this week that a focus on mental health should take center stage — yet that argument, Chris states in his video commentary, is flawed thinking. Instead, we should focus on ideas that will actually work.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
CHRIS WALKER: The number of deaths that came about this past weekend, the result of two separate mass shootings, is overwhelming. At least 22 people died in El Paso, Texas, and nine died in Dayton, Ohio. Dozens more were injured in both incidents.
Immediately after such tragedies happen — they have sadly become a mainstay in American life — we tend to ask ourselves, why? Why did this individual do this? Why did they have so much hate in their heart, and why did they take it out on innocent people?
The next question we usually ask is, how? How do we stop this in the future? Because we don’t want to live through another incident like this ever again. Unfoturnately, we typically do, without making any attempts to stave off such shootings in the interim.
Some have suggested that the president’s rhetoric played a role in this latest round of shootings. When one of the gunmen, in his supposed manifesto, cites his rationale for shooting using similar hateful rhetoric that the president has used against other groups of people in this country, it’s hard to dispute that Trump didn’t have at least a minimal amount of influence on him.
Trump himself has suggested that the shooters had mental illness, and he’s offered up a focus on that issue as a way to stop future shootings.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: [W]e must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment, but, when necessary, involuntary confinement. Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.
CHRIS WALKER: We should caution against this line of thinking — for starters, it encourages further stigma against individuals who are facing such tribulations in their lives.
It’s also flawed thinking — these shooters are not mentally ill. They are deliberate, inspired by hatred, and calculating. These traits imply that no amount of screening for mental illness could have stopped these events.
Equally as infuriating is the idea that “more guns” could somehow stop these mass shootings in the future. “More guns equals less crime” has been a rallying cry for the right for the better part of the past two or three decades — but it’s been proven wrong time and time again.
“More guns” doesn’t equal less crime. And concealed carry or open carry laws, that have been promised to deter criminals from engaging in such actions? They have failed to produce adequate deterrence, to say the least.
As we investigate ways to fix this problem, we must reject methods that have been proven not to work, including those methods that will simply make things worse.
“More guns” is not a solution to gun violence, and disparaging those with mental illness will only make lives harder for them, while doing nothing for the issue of mass shootings.
We should instead focus on issues that will work, like requiring background checks on every gun purchase. We should explore ways to limit sales on assault rifles and other accessories that are used in these mass shooting events.
When an assassin can take out a dozen people in a matter of seconds, clearly there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
The debate on guns is meant to be a robust one — the right to defend one’s self is a right that is inherent. But it’s not a right without limitations. All rights, all personal freedoms, exist within certain parameters, and the right to owning a weapon for the purpose of self-defense must adhere to that permise as well.